Thank you for your interest in our Being an appropriate adult video.
The information on this page is intended to help your organisation make the best use of this resource.
It is focused on police forces which are interested in adopting the video as part of their processes. However, we hope it will also be of use to others, including lawyers and community organisations.
The video is designed for people who have been, or may be asked, asked by police to be an appropriate adult. It is aimed at:
- family members
- and others who are being asked to be the appropriate adult because they are known to the person for whom an AA is required.
It is designed to be applicable whether the person they are supporting is:
- a child under 18, or
- a vulnerable person as defined by PACE Code C.
It is also designed to be relevant whether the person is:
- detained in police custody
- attending a voluntary interview under caution.
The video does not replace:
- training for dedicated appropriate adults from organised schemes, as set out in the national standards, or
- accredited qualifications for appropriate adults.
The project was a partnership between Dr Miranda Bevan and the National Appropriate Adult Network (NAAN).
Dr Bevan’s research focuses on vulnerable suspects and defendants, police custody, effective participation and unfitness to plead. Her leadership of this project was funded by the London School of Economics and the Economic and Social Research Council (part of UK Research and Innovation)
NAAN is a charity and membership organisation, and the national centre of expertise on the appropriate adult role. It is funded by the Home Office, charitable funders and its own income from membership, training and events. NAAN’s contribution to the project was led by Chief Executive Chris Bath, a member of the Home Office PACE Strategy Board.
- Written by: Miranda Bevan and Chris Bath
- Animation by John Brown and Scott Spencer
- Voices by Audionarrative and Jon Wright
The video has a wide range of support including:
- Home Office
- National Police Chiefs’ Council (via ACC Nev Kemp, custody lead)
The video has even won support in the UK Parliament from both Government and Opposition.
Meeting PACE requirements
PACE Code C 3.17A requires that “The custody officer must ensure that at the time the copy of the notice [of rights and entitlements] is given to the appropriate adult, or as soon as practicable thereafter, the appropriate adult is advised of the duties of the appropriate adult as described in paragraph 1.7A”.
Meeting inspection expectations
HMICFRS/HMIP custody inspections repeatedly identify issues regarding the police's communication with parents in the role of appropriate adult.
Expectation 4.5 addresses appropriate adults. It requires that, “The parents or guardians of those under 18 are used whenever they are willing, able and suitable for the role of appropriate adult. They are given written guidance on the role and are encouraged to actively protect the child’s rights”.
Providing access to the video will indicate a commitment to encouraging active protection of rights.
The Expectations are about to be revised and HMICFRS have indicated that the new version will include:
- The use of other media in addition to written guidance (e.g. video)
- Reference to both children and vulnerable adults (in line with PACE Code C).
NAAN also provides free written guidance which police forces can provide to appropriate adults, either by printing or sending web links.
Delivering the NPCC Custody Strategy 2022
The video can help forces to deliver on a number of elements in the forthcoming (April 2022) NPCC custody strategy. For example, it will help forces to demonstrate how they are:
- Considering the welfare and dignity of all detainees at all times.
- Treat all detainees with respect, proactively protecting their rights.
- Working effectively and respectfully with all those who visit police custody
- Accountable for their actions, encouraging independent scrutiny
- Working in partnership to ensure that custody is safe and efficient
- Investing in new technology and solutions that support safety, welfare, rights, dignity and efficiency
- Innovating and seeking new and improved ways to provide excellent service
- Invest in the custody estate to ensure a safe and welcoming environment.
Preventing deaths in and after custody
The Report of the Independent Review of Deaths and Serious Incidents in Police Custody highlighted the importance of the appropriate adult role. Dame Angiolini wrote:
""However, custody can have a traumatising effect on children (as indeed it can with adults) and the risks of self inflicted death following release should not be downplayed".
The video provides an opportunity for engagement with parents - one which builds their capacity to play a positive role in the process. Early and effective AA support will reduce the trauma of custody, and this requires a well-informed parent.
Ensuring that appropriate adults are well informed about their role, and the rights of a child or vulnerable person, encourages the early solution of issues that would otherwise escalate into complaints. This is both more effective for the investigation, and more effective than dealing with complaints after the fact, once people have learned more about the role and rights.
Improving efficiency, effectiveness and legitimacy
Research evidence clearly indicates that family member, and other untrained appropriate adults, are often poorly informed about the AA role.
Direct police explanations of the role have several limitations:
- It takes a lot of officer time to do properly
- Officers are often not trained on the role of the appropriate adult themselves
- The role may be explained differently by each officer
- The explanation of the role can emphasise elements that are most important from a police perspective, such as facilitation of communication in interview
- The independence of the role may not be as clear when explained by police
- The emotion of the situation can present additional challenges.
In contrast, ensuring that people have access to, and have viewed, independent information:
- Reduces time and cognitive burdens on busy officers
- Increases consistency of the information provided
- Guarantees that information is accurate
- Demonstrates that police are willing to provide independent information about the rights of the suspect and appropriate adult, and to respect those rights
- Encourages a relationship of trust, support and collaboration between the appropriate adult and custody staff, in protecting the rights, welfare and participation of the person
- Has been shown to calm and focus people on their role as appropriate adult
The video has been piloted in custody by Northamptonshire Police, under the leadership of Chief Inspector Jules Mead.
It is now available for all forces.
If you let us know you are using it, we’ll add your force name here.
No. The video is public access and can be used in custody completely free. We have also provided free poster designs that you can print locally.
The appropriate adult role is hugely complex, with the national standards requiring around 20 hours of training for AAs from organised schemes. At the same time, it is an emotional situation for parents, and too much information is not necessarily helpful or digestible.
The video was designed to balance comprehensiveness with accessibility. At 9 minutes long, it provides a ‘comprehensive summary’.
NAAN also provides written guidance which can also be provided to appropriate adults.
We’ve piloted the video in custody with Northamptonshire Police.
When we envisaged this project, our focus was on the independence of this information from police. We felt this was an important way to mirror the independence of the AA role, and also overcome any trust issues that may exist between individuals and the police.
However, Northamptonshire saw it a bit differently! They were keen to embed the video in their own processes, to support them to meet their responsibilities under PACE to inform AAs of their role. . While this was different to our original vision, we could not ignore the benefits.
The pilot identified a number of benefits but it also identified some challenges, including:
- a lack of WiFi in custody
- old technology preventing some custody staff from accessing online links
- the comprehensiveness of the video slowing down processes if shown at the custody desk
- people being in a distressed state when then attend as appropriate adult
- police wanting to be assured that the video had been viewed.
Here’s a summary of the ways that Northamptonshire overcame these challenges.
Before AA arrival
- When requesting that the person attends as AA, custody staff sent them the web link (by email or text) so they can watch before arrival.
- This could include instructions for making the video available offline on their device.
- Posters with QR codes were downloaded, printed at A3, laminated and put up in both in the waiting area and custody
- Initially, detention officers took people outside to view the video (while this time consuming, it was noted that it delivered benefits in terms of relationships)
- Later, a laptop with limited web access (via wired connection rather than Wi-Fi) was set up in a consultation room, and detention officers took people into the consultation room to view the video.
The project did not include funding for alternative languages.
However, thanks to the generous support of www.thebigword.com we have been able to provide subtitles in the following lanugages:
- Albanian (coming soon)
- Bulgarian (coming soon)
- Lithuanian (live)
- Romanian (live)
- Urdu (live)
We've created a poster to help spread awareness of the video, and provide access to it.
The poster has an embedded QR code. Pointing a smartphone camera at this QR code provides a direct link to the video. Alternatively, the web address can be typed into a browser manually.
The video must be accessed online. Downloads of the video are not available.
We appreciate that there are difficulties with access to the internet in some custody facilities. We want as many people to see this as possible. And we want to make it as easy as possible for forces to support us in doing that. The ability to download the video onto a local system is an obvious solution. We know that several forces are interested in using rugged tablets or video books for share information with people detained in custody.
However, there are a number of issues with using that approach for this video, which we set out below. That said, if you are keen to use the video, we're keen to hear from you. We're very happy to work together to try to find a way forward.
1. No version control
Holding the video centrally and online means that updates to the video are live instantly, everywhere. There is no need for police forces to keep checking whether their version is out of date. If we allowed downloads, we’d end up with different versions all over the country.
2. No subtitles and captions
The online platform (Vimeo) allows us to add captions and/or subtitles. We’re hoping to create subtitles for many other languages. With online hosting, these will be available everywhere as soon as we upload them, as will any changes we need to make. As the subtitles are part of the platform, rather than the video, no subtitles would be included in a download.
Vimeo also allows us to add ‘chapters’ to the video. At 9 minutes, the video is fairly long. Chapters allow us to break down the video into its natural sections. This means viewers can easily refer back to sections of interest, rather than simply watching the video once. As the chapters are part of the platform, rather than the video, they would not be included in a download.
Holding the video online means that we can get data about how its being used. This includes where in the country it is being viewed, how many people are seeing it, and at what point they stop watching it. The video is provided for free, and the project funding is complete. In order to maintain our support for the video, we’ll need to be able to demonstrate this kind of impact data to future funders of the charity. These analytics are not available when a downloaded video is played. Instead, we’d have to find a way for each force to manually provide that data. Even if we could find a way, it would mean taking back the time and effort we were hoping to save police officers!
There are number of options and forces can select from as many as they are able to do:
- Providing appropriate adults with a link to the video (by email and/or text) when requesting their attendance (we strongly encourage this in all implementations)
- Allowing apporpriate adults to bring their mobile device into custody unless there are specific known reasons why this is not possible
- Requesting that the relevant webpages are 'whitelisted' by your information department
- Providing the AA with a mobile device with access to the relevant web pages
- If there is no Wi-Fi, setting up a laptop in a consultation room with a wired (ethernet) connection to the internet, with support from custody staff to view.
Viewing via an internet browser
The video is available at www.vimeo.com/appropriateadult/video.
You can also see it here on our website, along with our written guides for AAs. We recommend that you use the Vimeo link when sharing with appropriate adults, as this will not change wiht any changes to our website.
The video can be viewed via any normal internet browser, whether on:
- a computer (desktop or laptop) or
- mobile device (smartphone or tablet).
Viewing offline in the Vimeo app
An alternative to viewing via a browser is viewing in the Vimeo app.
Using the app, people attending as appropriate adults can make the video ‘available offline’ before they enter custody. However, please note the following:
- Chapters (shortcuts to key sections) are not available
- Closed captions and subtitles are not available
- Analytics do not function (views will not be counted in our data)
- It will only be viewable in that Vimeo app (you can’t save the file on another device).
The instructions for making the video available offline are:
- Using Wi-Fi or phone data download the Vimeo app to an Android or iOs mobile device (there is no requirement to register a Vimeo account but this is free if desired).
- Search for “Being an appropriate adult” from NAAN and tap on the video
- Pause the video and tap on the three dots to the right of the video title
- Tap “Make available offline”
- Wait until the video downloads (the bar below the video fills up blue and you should get a notification to say the download is complete).
To check the video is available offline and access it later:
- In the Vimeo app, click on the ‘Home’ tab (not the Videos or Watch tabs)
- Tap on the account icon in the top right corner (a blue smiley face unless changed by user)
- Under ‘Library’, tap ‘Offline’
- Tap to watch the video.